Braunschweig – The Lion City: After its founding by Henry the Lion, the city of Braunschweig was shaped throughout the centuries by the Guelphs and the Hanseatic League. Today, Braunschweig, with its population of around 250,000, is the largest city between Hanover and Berlin: it is an attractive city for shopping, has a lively cultural scene and is the centre of Europe’s most concentrated research region. The Middle Ages can be experienced here in the winding alleyways of the Magni quarter with its small timber-framed houses or in the Burgplatz square with its historic buildings, just as the modern urban lifestyle can be experienced in this pulsing shopping city. Everything is easy to get to, which is characteristic of a big city - just as the wonderful parks and nature which offer peace, quiet and balance along the banks of the Oker river.
Residence and Imperial City of the Guelphs
In the city of Henry the Lion, the presence of medieval times can still be felt today. The bronze lion, which the Guelph Duke had built in the Burgplatz square as the first free-standing statue north of the Alps, is still today the symbol of the city. Castle Dankwarderode, St. Blasii cathedral and the old city walls still echo the reign of Henry the Lion and his son Otto IV. Both Guelphs chose Braunschweig as their residence and developed the city into a powerful centre of trade. After Otto IV was crowned emperor in Rome in 1209, Braunschweig became a focal point in Europe as an Imperial City, an “urbs regia”. The city continued to be the residence of the Guelph Dukes into the 20th century, with just one interruption. They promoted numerous innovations in commerce, culture and science and thanks to that, the city grew and prospered.
Highly-valued art and culture
Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum is one of the oldest museums in continental Europe. It is home to around 190,000 pieces of art from 3,000 years of art history and has been enriching the lives of generations since 1754. The Municipal Museum is also of great importance with its extensive collection and is among the largest art and art-historical museums in Germany. Numerous other museums, galleries and art associations supplement the diverse range of offers in the Lion City - from the Kunstverein Braunschweig through the Museum for Photography to the Braunschweig State Museum. The State Theatre Braunschweig has been continually reinventing itself for over 150 years with inspirational performances. Many privately run stages also cater for surprises with high-quality theatre pieces. Unique events like the Burgplatz Open Air, the festivals of early music “Soli Deo Gloria”, the international festival “Theaterformen” and the „Braunschweig International Film Festival“ all offer attractive cultural experiences right through the year.
1,000 years of architecture
The charming timber-framed houses also bear witness to the lively history of Braunschweig as can, for example, be seen around the St. Magni church. The extraordinary Happy Rizzi House, with its bright colours and shapes, stands as a stark contrast to this medieval style of building. The Jakob-Kemenate, which was given the “if communication design award” in 2008, unifies contemporary and medieval architecture. The façade of the historic Guelph palace, lovingly reconstructed with many of the original elements, adds to the many sights to see in Braunschweig.
Member of the Hanseatic League
In the Middle Ages, Braunschweig evolved into a wealthy city. It became a significant trading centre because of the good location at the intersection of important long-distance trade routes. Intense relationships with numerous other Hanseatic cities are verifiable from the 13th century onwards. The City of Braunschweig was actively involved in the politics of the Hanseatic League, too. Emissaries of the city were involved in numerous Hanseatic Days from 1356 onwards. The membership in the Hanseatic League ended in 1671, when the city lost its independence and the princes assumed the power. The Hanseatic City of Braunschweig was history. The Altstadtrathaus (Old Town Hall), the Gewandhaus (Cloth Hall), the (reconstructed) Alte Waage (weighing station), the municipal parish churches and various town houses remain as stone testimonies to this era of the city‘s history.
Braunschweig’s Mumme beverage also found some fame. At that time it was an alcoholic beer, sometimes weaker, sometimes stronger depending on the way it was brewed. Thanks to its invigorating effect and long shelf-life, Mumme was used as a provision for long sea and exploration journeys in the 15th and 16th century and was shipped over the seas all the way to the “two Indies”. Today Braunschweig Mumme is a syrupy, alcohol-free beverage which is used to enhance foods and other beverages.
City of Clever Minds
Guelphs and the Hanseatic League shaped the city and, with them, the many bright minds throughout the centuries such as Lessing, Gauß, Spohr, Raabe, Dedekind and Büssing. About 80 years ago, Agnes Pockels was awarded an honorary degree for her research into surface chemistry at Braunschweig’s Technical University – the first woman ever to receive this in all of Germany. Today, the Lion City and the region are among the world leaders with their extensive research and development activities at their internationally renowned institutes. Braunschweig was appointed as “City of Science” in 2007. Science from Braunschweig accompanies you every second of the day, by the way, because the atomic clock at the “Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt” (PTB) defines the precise time of day for the whole of Germany.
Lower Saxony’s number one city for shopping attractively combines traditional and modern elements: owner-run shops, small boutiques and attractive chain stores offer a comprehensive list of choices. Light-flooded indoor malls and modern stores fill the gaps between the historic buildings in the pedestrian zone. The appealing shopping opportunities and a wide range of places to eat invite you to stroll through the city streets. In the summer, the sun and the Lion City can be enjoyed from the seats outside the inviting cafés, bars and restaurants, while one of the most spectacular Christmas Markets in northern Germany is simply a must during the festive season.
A passion for sports
The people of Braunschweig are passionate about sports – both as sportsmen and women and as fans. Besides the football team Eintracht Braunschweig, which enjoys an absolute cult status, sporting highlights also include Braunschweig’s “Tanz-Sport-Club”, which has won several world championships in formation dancing; the New Yorker Lions American football team and the Basketball Löwen Braunschweig premier league basketball team. Braunschweig regularly hosts national and international championships in various disciplines. One of Braunschweig’s favourite sports is the “Schoduvel” - the longest carnival parade in northern Germany with a tradition that goes back over 700 years.
Starting point for daytrips
There are many green oases in Braunschweig. As the Oker River forms a ring around the city centre, parks and nature can quickly be reached from the city centre. Lakes close to the city and the bird conservation area in Riddagshausen are attractive local recreation areas for the people of Braunschweig. The Harz mountains and the Lüneburger Heide heathland are easy to travel to, making the Lion City an ideal starting point for trips deeper into a remarkable region of culture.